Spin the Golden Light Bulb:
It's 2071, and Kia, 11, has been waiting for her chance at the creative thinking competition called the Piedmont Challenge ever since she can remember her grandmother's stories about it. If she wins, she can attend a school and study whatever she chooses. If not, she'll have to study whatever she's assigned, which will probably become her career. She's excited to meet her team - the Crimson Five - but even if they can learn to work together, it might not be enough to win.
This book has a lot of elements that should be a win, particularly for GT teachers and Destination Imagination or Odyssey of the Mind coordinators, but something just isn't clicking. The premise is a little contradictory - how can a society that really values creative thinking and innovation pay so much attention to one contest and yet only provide spaces for students at a single creative thinking school? Also, our protagonist, while believably driven and competitive, doesn't have many qualities to offset the complaining. While one character is rather silly and one is rather jaded, one is rather quiet, and one is rather nice, there's just not a lot more development to any of them, except as stand-ins for Kia's journey.
The plot is busy with activities and setbacks, and realistically captures several aspects of problem-solving and teamwork, but the story needs a little more heart, humor, or insight to make it stand out.
"You see, it takes great talent to work with other people, and in this competition, those who form the strongest unions with their teammates will achieve the best results."
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